"Why Trump, Corbyn and Sanders Are Doing Well" (Ian Welsh)
"People are sick of the status quo and they will take a chance with anyone who is willing to actually bloody well try something different than the usual. And because most people don’t parse just on policy positions (nor should they, since politicians lie), what they are looking for are candidates who don’t act like the normal candidates and who therefore might actually do something different."
-- Ian Welsh, in a post yesterday, "Why Trump,
Corbyn and Sanders Are Doing Well"
Corbyn and Sanders Are Doing Well"
I have been trying like heck not to write about, um, you-know-who -- the guy John Oliver referred to the other day as "an old piece of luggage covered in Cheez Whiz." This also means that I've been doing my best not to pay any attention to him, including what he's saying.
By and large, I usually try to avoid listening to what political candidates are saying, since usually it's just what a cache of creep handlers have decided will play best with some possibly mythical coven of swing voters. (An obvious exception has been none other than Bernie Sanders. When he launched his presidential bid, I mentioned to Howie how surprising it was to hear the kinds of things he was saying -- the kinds of things one normally longs in vain to hear a major political candidate say. And I notice that just today the Borowitz Report has a major scoop on a scandal in the making: "Sanders Shamelessly Pandering to Voters Who Want to Hear Truth.")
Meanwhile, the stuff that the infotainment noozers have been pulling out of this guy's public utterances has given unblemished credence to the idea that it's even crackpottier-than-usual right-wing pandering. Sure, there's the obviously outrageous stuff, which is pretty, you know, outrageous. But it seems that's not all he's been saying, and somehow it never occurred to me that the 'tainment noozers might be hearing only what it serves their purposes to hear. Even though that's all they ever hear, since it'a all they ever listen for.
How's this for a bill of particulars?
• He doesn’t want to cut Social Security. Jeb Bush does. Obama has talked this up."He," in case you haven't figured it out yet, is The Donald. (Yes, that The Donald.) And this list was offered yesterday by Ian Welsh in a post called "Why Trump, Corbyn and Sanders Are Doing Well." Howie, you may recall, wrote a post yesterday called "Is Jeremy Corbyn The UK's Bernie Sanders?," focusing on the apparent front runner to be the next leader of Britain's Labour Party, who's inviting the party to return to the principles of the Labour Party after the nightmare interlude of Tony Blair's right-of-center "New Labour." (On the sidelines Tony B is having twittery convulsions of hissy fits.)
• He wants full universal healthcare. Yeah, he badmouths Obamacare, but he’s badmouthing it from a position of, “Give them the real thing.”
• His idea of returning manufacturing to the US and doing bilateral trade deals is not insane, or crazy, except to neo-liberal apologists and people too stupid to realize they’ve imbibed the economic philosophy of neo-liberalism, whose results have been the stagnation and then absolute decline of ordinary American wages. This is how capitalism worked for about half of capitalism’s history. Disagree if you like, but it’s not crazy.
• His idea of simplifying the tax code enough so that ordinary people don’t need professionals to fill out their tax forms is a good one. Jimmy Carter, by the way, wanted to do the same thing.
Ian offered the above list with just these preliminaries:
Let’s state the obvious about Trump."I’m not a fan of Trump," Ian was quick to say, though you can be sure there are lots of readers who read right over this. "There are plenty of reasons why he’s problematic." He pointed out that Trump is "actually an economic populist on many issues." Again, he stressed that "people shouldn’t overlook that this comes married to some nasty nativism." But, he said, "I'm tired of people who are lumping all parts of the Trump campaign together."
No, not that he’s a joke, or a sign of fascism, or any of that.
Rather that a lot of what he says makes sense. His policies aren’t as crazy as people make out, and people who support him aren’t as stupid as the media pretends.
Trump is doing well because he is telling some truths other politicians won’t, and because his actual policies sound good to right-wing populists. Populists have been divided into right and left for a long time, but it’s feelings that matter to right-wing populists. Trump comes across as a straight shooter and that’s why they’ll vote for him. (It is also why many of them will cross the lines to vote for Sanders if he’s the Democratic nominee and Trump isn’t the Republican one.)(Ian pointed out that The Donald also "told the truth about buying politicians.")
Anyone who feels like a ”run-of-the-mill” politician loses big points in the current environment, because people feel like normal politicians are why we’re here, in this shithole economy, with no end in sight and plenty of reason to believe it could get a lot worse.
And then Ian made the connection to Bernie Sanders and Jeremy Corbyn, with the thought I put at the top of this post:
Sanders, Trump, and Corbyn in England (whom I’ll write about in a bit) are all doing well because of this dynamic. People are sick of the status quo and they will take a chance with anyone who is willing to actually bloody well try something different than the usual. And because most people don’t parse just on policy positions (nor should they, since politicians lie), what they are looking for are candidates who don’t act like the normal candidates and who therefore might actually do something different.There's another possible reason why the infotainment noozers have been missing what The Donald has been saying -- another reason besides occupational sloth and Village don't-give-a-damn-ness, why all they write about is the "dilemma" posed to orthodox far-right-wing Republican pols by his crudeness and nativism. These days far-right-wing Republican orthodoxy tends also to be Beltway orthodoxy, and the things Ian talked about yesterday undoubtedly offend this orthodoxy a great deal more than the nativist crudity.